Telecommunications Code Seminar, Part One

Telecommunications code

Property Managers, Health and Safety advisors and those responsible for property assets, gathered at Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Headquarters yesterday to attend the first in a series of seminars exploring the implications of the new Telecommunications code, RF and Structural Safety.

After welcome and introductions from Duncan Wells, Michael Aubrey Partnership, Thekla Fellas, Fladgate Solicitors opened the seminar examining how the new code will affect property owners.

Thekla talked about why the government feels reform is necessary; citing their commitment to incentivising investment to fully support the rollout of the country’s digital communications infrastructure.

Thekla talked about;

  • How the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) want to make it faster, easier to secure sites for the Operators – it’s a political decision
  • How it is going to be virtually impossible for landowners to get Operators off their sites
  • How the new telecommunications code will give Telecoms operators access to land – moving to a “no scheme” basis of valuation regime (a  valuation which will favour Telecoms operators).
  • How the new telecommunications code will put digital communications infrastructure on a similar regime to utilities like electricity and water.
  • New rights that will make it easier for telecommunications operators to deploy and maintain their infrastructure
  • Telecommunications operators will have a new automatic right to upgrade and share apparatus
  • Telecommunications operators cannot be charged extra for changes where there is minimal adverse visual impact or burden on site providers.
  • Improved dispute resolution

Telecommunications code

What Impact Will The New Telecommunications Code Have For Property Owners?

The change in the basis of valuation to a “no scheme” rule reflecting the underlying value of the land. Reduced rental income: This will limit the value of consideration that the site owner receives for granting the lease.

When Will this take Effect?

The new Telecommunications Code rights will only apply to contracts signed after the law has come into effect and will not apply to existing contracts retrospectively – transitional provisions are not supposed to be retrospective. The bill is currently scheduled to come into effect in Spring 2017.

Speaking after the event John Staves said

No one is sure what impact this new legislation will have on property owners, but after listening to Thekla’s presentation I think that these changes could well be detrimental to the operators who will find that property owners are reluctant to allow new installations with such sweeping terms. 

It seems really odd that private companies already making huge profits are being given powers which appear to reduce their costs at the expense of private landowners. 

Whilst the intent to make better communications readily available is positive, my concern is that the proposed Code will not achieve this objective and could well slow network development by driving more deals for sites to the Courts for determination“.

Are you a property owner? How do you think this new legislation will have an impact on your property portfolio?



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